The Unspoken Side Effect

Since March is Endometriosis Awareness Month I thought would shed light on a side effect that rarely crosses the mind of someone without endometriosis: depression.

  
Conspiracy theories aside, many biographers think that Marilyn Monroe’s life long battle with depression was caused by her endometriosis, and that her eventual suicide was an accident from her merely trying to escape the pain of the disease that night. People around me generally consider me a positive, upbeat person, but even I can’t escape this side effect of my illness. For me personally there are a few reasons why I occasionally struggle with depression from endometriosis.

1. You can’t escape it. You can leave a shitty job or a bad relationship when you’re unhappy, but there’s no escaping your own physical body. There’s no cure for endometriosis and very few effective treatments, you have good days, you have annoying days, but when it’s bad, it’s bad and there isn’t a pain killer strong enough or a heating pad hot enough to give you relief. 

2. People don’t believe you. You don’t look sick on the outside (totally exhausted, yes, but “sick” no.) As someone who hates to dwell on my illness and downplays my symptoms anyways, people just don’t get it. My first experience with depression came after my original gynecologist flat out did not believe that there was anything wrong with me. (You can read about my struggle to find a diagnosis here) I felt crazy, and the depression from that lasted nearly a year. When I think that the average length of time for a proper diagnosis is 7 years, I wonder if I personally could have made it that long, and am in awe of the women who do.

3. It’s isolating. One in ten women have endometriosis, and although I am grateful for the support I receive from my fellow EndoSisters, it isn’t the same as your loved ones around you just “getting it”. You have thoughts like “Why me?” and “Did I somehow cause this?” but you don’t want to say them outloud and there have been times I’ve completely shut down to the people around me, which as you can guess is not good for relationships. There is a jealousy that happens when you see your loved ones living their unaltered lives, pushing themselves and eating junk with no immediate consequences. Not to mention all the social occasions you miss out on from not feeling well enough to go to. 

4. You feel like you’ll never reach your full potential. I’ve accomplished a lot in my young life, more than some totally healthy people, which begs the question “What could I do if I were totally healthy?”. I have a body that occasionally likes to hold me back, and no matter how hard I push it, it will catch up and knock me down for a few rounds. You can’t rule the world plugged into a heating pad on the couch in the middle of your messy living room you’ve been too exhausted to clean. For the overachiever in me, this is the worst part. 

This is a much more complicated disease to cover in one blog post, but with all things considered how do you keep yourself going? I have a few ways I personally try to deal with it. 

1. I give my body it’s best chance for success, between my diet, the lifestyle changes I have made, and my work with a holistic practitioner, and I hope that my body returns the favor.

2. I treat myself. If I have to spend some downtime with a heating pad in my bed, you can bet it’s going to be the nicest damn heating pad, in Egyptian cotton sheets and the softest pillows money can buy. If I feel like crap I can at least feel that way in clothes and makeup that make me happy too! And if I want an occasional chocolate milkshake, I’m going to get one.

3. I do things that make me feel good. I get a massage every month and a reiki treatment when I feel especially drained. I take baths several times a week while I enjoy a glass of wine, and I turn the music up and sing along in the car to and from work because it makes me happy. I recently did a pin up shoot with photographer Laura Dark, just because it sounded fun. I have to say a few hours of ladies pampering you, doing your hair, makeup and dressing you up does wonders for your attitude. It also helps that when I feel like crap I can look at the pictures and think “Yeah but look how hot you are”. I highly recommend it. (If you’re ok with seeing a little skin my shoot it here!) As long as something makes you feel good at the time, don’t feel guilty for indulging a little. 

4. I surround myself with people who love me. I don’t have time for negativity, if you’re not good for me you have no place in my life. The people around me motivate me to keep going. It makes a huge difference when I can go over to my sister’s house to watch Golden Girls with no expectations from her to be in a wonderful mood. Don’t even get me started on when my husband hands me a cup of bone broth, my heating pad and turns my favorite show on Neflix. That’s what real love looks like. 

5. I allow myself to feel sad. I have a chronic illness, every day isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows and I’m not going to be hard on myself for not being happy all of the time. If I need to take some time to sleep too much and feel sorry for myself, I will. Life is hard, it’s ok if it gets to you, just don’t unpack your bags and live in that feeling.

If you ever get to the point where you are considering doing something drastic, I urge you to get help. You have survived 100% of your worst days up to now, there is no reason to ruin that perfect track record. 

My IUD Insertion Story

After two months of research, and my gynecologist’s advice, I decided to get an IUD to try to help manage the symptoms of my endometriosis (Along with continuing the work with my holistic doctor; which I’ve promised you all I would write about! I know I’ve been slacking, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write more, so stick with me!).  We went with Mirena, which has been increasingly used to treat the symptoms of endometriosis within the last few years. Although more research is needed (only a few studies have been published, and the longest only followed it’s research subjects around for three years) it is thought to have something to do with the progesterone the IUD releases into your uterus over the course of 5 years. The progesterone thins the lining of the uterus, theoretically suppressing the growth of endometrial tissue, and reduces inflammation in the pelvic cavity. Now that you’ve had your little dose of reproductive organ education today, let me tell you about my IUD insertion experience. 

First, when you schedule the appointment, they ask that you be on your period, which for me was a very small window of time, because like clockwork I start on Friday afternoon and finish Sunday night. I scheduled it for Friday afternoon and hoped my body wouldn’t let me down. Honestly, I didn’t do much research into the actual insertion procedure, besides reading a post somewhere titled something like “Preparing for your IUD insertion” that recommended “relaxing….take calming breaths…and take 800 mg of ibuprofen and hour before your appointment.”, the article also said not to worry, the procedure was basically an uncomfortable pinch, no different than a Pap smear. 

I drove myself to the appointment, and thinking 800 mg of ibuprofen sounded like a bit much, I took 400 mg before leaving the house. I had convinced myself the “pressure/pain” I had read about would in no way compare to the pain I feel during an endo flare, and did some yoga breathing until the doctor came into the room. She explained the procedure in full detail, so I would know exactly what to expect every step of the way, and this put me totally at ease. “First I will insert the speculum, no different than in a Pap smear. Then I’ll swab the area and make sure your cervix is totally clean so that there’s no risk of infection. After that I’ll insert what is called a “sound” which measures your cervix so I know where to place the IUD, at this point you will feel three seconds of cramping, just remember to breathe. Then you’ll hear me opening the sterile packaging the IUD comes in, when you’re ready I will place the IUD and you’ll feel 10 seconds of heavy cramping, much like a contraction, again, just remember to breathe. Any questions?”

“Nope!” This was going to be a piece of cake! Famous last thought….

Before I move on, allow me to brag a bit about my high pain tolerance. I have nearly 8 hours of tattoo work on my body, 6 of those hours were on my rib cages, and I sat like a champ through every second; laughing with the tattoo artist when he would tell me about the grown men who had cried and passed out getting tattoos in the same spots. I’m no whimp. Anyways, back to the office…

She inserts the speculum, nothing out of the ordinary, just a little pressure, and then she lets me know she’s about to insert the sound. “I know it seems strange, but if you cough really hard as I insert it, that will make the pain less severe.” My cough went a little something like this “cough, COUGH, AHH! OUCCCCHH!” I was so embarrassed. It takes A LOT to get me to cry out in pain uncontrollably. In fact, the only other time I remember doing so is when I had an ovarian cyst rupture. (I’m not talking about stubbing your toe and screaming “DAMNIT!” I’m taking about a raw, animalistic “yelp” that you just can’t hold in). There’s no way the entire office didn’t hear me. My doctor patted my leg and said “That’s a totally normal reaction, just take a few deep breaths while I open the IUD and let me know when you’re ready.” At this point I was hit with a tidal wave of nausea.

Shit. I can’t do this. Yes I can. No I can’t. Ugh screw it, just get it over with.

“I’m good!” –The biggest lie I’ve ever told. 

“Ok, I’m going to insert the IUD, I’ll count down and when I get to “one” it’ll all be over. Just remember to breathe. Ready…10….”

This would start the the longest 10 seconds of my life. I sounded like I was giving birth. When I tell you that I have never experienced pain like I felt during those 10 seconds, it is an understatement. If that’s a 10 on the pain scale, my endo flares are a solid 2. I would have told you anything you wanted to hear in that moment to make the pain stop. I would have posted my bank account and social security number on social media, punched my own mother in the face, and told you that Meryl Streep didn’t deserve any of her Oscars. Anything. 

When it was finally over all I could say was “WOW! That was really something!” and muster up a tiny “heh.”

I have to say my doctor handled it well. “Most women who haven’t had children find it very uncomfortable. I’m sorry it was so painful but it will be worth it.” (I would late read that only 5% of women report ‘severe’ pain during IUD insertion, but I appreciated the lie.) She told me to just lay there for 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out, then someone would be in to help me sit up, and she would see me back in a month to make sure everything still looked good. 

As I laid there the nausea continued, my mouth filled up with spit faster than I could swallow it and I thought “Well if this is normal they probably would have left me a puke pan…. You better get your shit together because you’re not allowed to sit up.” The 15 minutes flew by, and the nurse came in to sit me up and told me I could get dressed. As she left the room I leapt up and puked in the trash can. It then occurred to me I would have to drive myself home….Shit.

The cramping afterwards was intense. My drive home consisted of me whimpering like an injured animal and trying not to throw up in my Kate Spade bag. You know all bets are off if I’m considering vomiting into a $400 purse. I tried to distract myself from the pain by thinking of things that probably hurt as much as getting an IUD. “Getting shot or stabbed probably doesn’t hurt that bad…maybe getting mauled by a polar bear, or getting a limb ripped off by a silverback gorilla….” I made it home alive. 

I spent the rest of the evening on the couch with a heating pad and ibuprofen, in complete disbelief that no one properly warned me how much that was actually going to hurt. But then again, maybe that was for the best. 

So here’s my advice to you, if you’re getting an IUD:

  • Have someone drive you to your appointment. Also, make them sit in the waiting room so they can say things like “I didn’t hear you scream out here, so you must not have been as loud as you think” and “Want to go get a drink now?”
  • Take 800 mg of ibuprofen an hour before your appointment. I can’t tell you that it will ease the pain of insertion, but at least you’ll be on top of the cramps that come after.
  • Have three types of pads at home: a heating pad, menstrual pads, and an iPad. All you’re going to be good for is laying around on the couch, and since you’re on your period, you’re not going to want to use a tampon.
  • Take the following day off, just in case. I was still pretty crampy and uncomfortable the next day. If you have a job where you’re mostly sitting you might be fine, but I was not up for running around the salon and taking clients the next day. 
  • Don’t feel bad if you cry out durning the insertion, after I posted something on Instagram (@stayatworkhousewife) people starting commenting that they had a similar experience. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. 
  • Don’t worry too much, you’re probably in the 95% of people who just feel a slight discomfort, and if you are in the other 5% it’s over in 10 seconds. 

I will keep you all updated to see if I notice a difference in my endometriosis symptoms! 

A letter to my loved ones, from someone with endometriosis 

  
I have endometriosis (you can read about my search for a diagnosis here), a chronic disease where the lining of my uterus grows in other places of my body, causing internal bleeding, a build up of scar tissue, and cysts. I get severe pelvic pain which can flare up at any time. My endometriosis decreases the effectiveness of my immune system, and causes extreme fatigue. My normal flare ups last about two weeks, from the start of ovulation to the end of my period, then I usually have another week of exhaustion from being in pain. Did I mention there’s no cure? With that being said, let me explain a few things to the people in my life:

To my coworkers:

There will be days where I will not seem like myself, nine times out of ten when you ask me “What’s wrong?” I will not feel like explaining that I barely slept the night before because it felt like I was being stabbed with a flaming hot, dull knife on my right side; so I will say “I’m just tired”. If I do open up and tell you that I don’t seem like myself because I’m in so much pain, I’m not doing it for pity, and I don’t want to hear things like “have you tried taking Advil?” or “Yeah, I get cramps too”. The best thing you can do for me is to not really acknowledge that I’m down (I like to think I’m hiding it, so don’t burst my bubble!) and just tell me a funny story to take my mind off of it. Seriously, there are days where one more “What’s wrong?” will bring me to tears. 

To my friends and family:

It takes a lot to convince me to leave the comfort of my heating pad and rescue puppy cuddles; and if I am feeling up to being active, it takes even more convincing to get me away from using that energy to clean my house. So believe me when I say that abandoning these things to be social is a very good indicator that I love you very much. It was through the encouragement of most of you that I went out to seek a second opinion, so thank you for that. There might be times we hang out where I’m more quiet than others, but don’t take that as a bad mood, I’m just tired. If I do have to cancel plans to take care of myself, don’t call me flakey, I just need some recovery time. For those of you who I can hang out with when I’m not feeling well and can relax knowing that I don’t need to act a certain way, thank you for being so understanding. I know that it’s probably confusing if you’ve known me since before my endometriosis got really bad, I’m still the same person, I’m just easier to keep up with now! 

To my husband:

I know you didn’t marry me because I could clean the entire house every week, have dinner on the table every night, be up for an adventure at any time, and still have enough energy to stay up late with you. You don’t seem to mind that I’m no longer the constant, crazy ball of energy I was when we first met. These are things I miss about myself that I project on you. Thank you for being the most supportive person in my life, for picking up the house when I’m exhausted, for dealing with my indecisiveness when it comes to picking what to eat when nothing sounds good to me because my endometriosis makes me nauseous. And while we’re on the subject of food, thank you for supporting ever diet/lifestyle change I try, we’ve been vegan, paleo and everything in between! Another huge thanks for putting up with me the entire year I moped around because no one believed there was anything wrong with me; and for holding my hand through the anxiety of searching for a second opinion. I can’t imagine going through any of this without you.

To myself:

You need to stop comparing yourself to perfectly healthy people, and especially to who you were before the endometriosis got bad. Healthy you could clean your 700 square foot apartment in one afternoon so well that you could confidently eat off of every surface. But beating your chronically ill self up because you can’t clean your 2,000 square foot house that well in one afternoon makes absolutely no sense. The things you have accomplished so far in your young life rival many healthy people’s achievements, so stop calling yourself lazy because you need to come home and rest after working a ten hour shift. You need to start caring for yourself as diligently as you monitor your bank account. Do not make energy withdrawals until you’ve taken care of yourself enough to make some deposits, and never let your funds run out, or overdraft your ‘account’. Most importantly, never be ashamed of your story. Endometriosis does not make you a broken person. It is a challenge but it is not who you are. Do not be afraid to share your struggles or your journey, it may inspire or educate others. Above all, be kind to yourself. 

Love,

Dani

30 Day Happier Challenge September 

Back by popular demand, I’m doing my 30 Days Happier Challenege for the month of September! 
  
Here’s how it works:

For the month of September:
Follow me on Instagram @stayatworkhousewife 

Each day post either:
Something in your life you are grateful for.

Something little that made you smile.

Something thoughtful you did for someone else.

Something special you did for yourself.

With each post use the hashtag #30dayshappier and tag me @stayatworkhousewife

Let me know who is joining me by posting the picture below with the caption:

IMG_3309.JPG

“I am joining The Stay At Work Housewife’s 30 Days Happier Challenge for the month of September! @stayatworkhousewife #30dayshappier

My Endometriosis Story

It’s time for me to share a very personal story. I was recently diagnosed with endometriosis, a chronic disease where the endometrium grows outside the uterus and results in internal bleeding, lesions, inflammation, and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems. Although this is my experience, endometriosis affects 1 out of 10 women, it is the cause of nearly 75% of cases of chronic pelvic pain, and yet the average time it takes a woman to find a diagnosis is seven years. This is simply the story of my journey for a diagnosis, but I hope to continue posting my experiences as I try to live my best life with endo, in hopes that it will help others live theirs.

  

At age 25 I just started realizing that the symptoms of my period I had been writing off as normal for the past 13 years, are not “normal”.  I started questioning my symptoms about a year ago when I thought my appendix was going to burst and I almost went to the hospital. Now for me to even consider going to the ER, you have to understand how much pain I was in. You are talking to the girl who jumped right up after slipping on ice and getting a concussion, and continued to run the salon and take clients that day without taking any time off to recover. The same girl who fractured the top of her foot after someone accidentally stepped on it at an amusement park, and continued to walk around on it and ride roller coasters for another six hours. The same girl who stepped on a broken wine bottle at her wedding in bare feet, and continued to dance in heels for the rest of the night when I probably should’ve gotten stitches.  The same girl who… Never mind you get the point, I have an insanely high pain tolerance. My rib cage is tattooed from my underarms to my hips and that was more annoying than painful. So for me to even consider going to the hospital for pain scared everyone around me. I didn’t end up going to the hospital that day for appendicitis, (thanks WebMD), but I did however begin hearing theories from other people when they heard about my symptoms. 

A coworker: “you sound like my friend who has endometriosis, has your doctor ever told you that?”

My sister’s RN friend: “has she ever been checked for ovarian cysts or endometriosis?”

My mom: “are you on your period? I always had a horrible pain like that until I had a hysterectomy.”

I was on my period at the time, but I had never even considered that there could be something abnormal about it, until I started researching my “normal” symptoms.

I guess it pretty much started right away, my periods were very heavy and so painful than I would stay home from school or go lay down in the nurses office. Then at about 15 I had a period that lasted 27 days. My mom took me to the gynecologist and they put me on birth control to regulate it. Things improved a bit, but I still had horrible cramps. One day in high school, I was sitting in class and the pain from cramping was so bad that I fainted (This would happen again years later while I was home alone). My gynecologist at the time ignored my claims that I had passed out due to the pain, and decided that I was anemic. Also “just in case” it was a side effect of the pill, he switched me from the pill to a birth control patch. 

As years went by my symptoms got worse: the horrible cramping was still there, but instead of just affecting me the week of my period, cramps would start showing up the week before, and would hang around until a few days after my period ended. The pain ranged from a dull ache to an intense stabbing, and was always constant. It began to affect my daily life for two weeks out of the month. It sometimes prevented me from falling asleep, and would wake me up once I had. Not to mention the back pain, nausea, headaches, urinary tract pain, and total exhaustion. My mother was very sympathetic to my issues, as she herself suffered from “really bad periods”. So bad in fact that in her early 40s she had to undergo a hysterectomy due to complications from her menstrual cycle. While they were operating they also had to remove a lot of “scar tissue” and “lesions”, the cause of which were never discussed with her.

Most girls learn about their periods from their mothers, and since my ‘normal’ was also her ‘normal’; I didn’t think there was anything abnormal about my symptoms. So I just popped Midol for two weeks out of the month like it was candy, became best friends with my heating pad, and didn’t ask questions.

Eventually I would discover that I have a gluten intolerance, and began blaming some of my symptoms on that. I gave up gluten and noticed a reduction in cramping, headaches, and exhaustion. Months went by and although my health improved I was still waiting to feel 100%.

Here we are two years later, back to the “appendix incident”.  At the advice of my sisters friend, I googled endometriosis, and while reading the symptoms it was like a lightbulb went off. The next day I called my new gynecologist to schedule an appointment. I was feeling optimistic, I’d been living in Columbus for years, and chalked up my previous experience with a gynecologist to the fact that he practiced in the small town I grew up in. I came prepared with my ‘appendix’ story, and a list of the symptoms I’d been experiencing since I was 15. I also brought up the possible family history of endometriosis.

My doctor listened to me that day for a total of 8 minutes, and then asked me one question:

 “Do you experience pain during intercourse?” 

The answer was no, and just like that my problems were waved away with this response: 

“Periods are not supposed to be fun. Try taking midol, and laying around with a heating pad when you experience the cramping. Honestly, you’re just not in quite enough pain for me to think you have endometriosis. Besides if you did have endometriosis, the treatment I would prescribe, would be to put you on the pill, and you’re already on birth control, so there’s really no point in diagnosing you. In the future, if you have trouble becoming pregnant, we can return to this discussion.

(I would later read a statistic that only 45% of women with endometriosis experience pain during intercourse.)

I cried in the car for a half an hour after this appointment. I knew something wasn’t right, but she made me feel that something that affected my daily life, caused me to cancel plans, and didn’t allow me to be as hard-working as an employee as I knew I could be, was all in my head, and I was just being dramatic. 

This sent me into a depression. My loved ones encouraged me to get a second opinion, but at this point my trust in doctors was lost. I never wanted to feel the way she made me feel ever again. I also started to convince myself that it was pointless to seek a diagnosis for something which there was no cure. I decided I knew my body and I would figure out how to treat it. I began eating Paleo 90% of the time to reduce inflammation and started feeling some relief. 

But the depression didn’t go away, not only was I in pain, I also thought I was crazy. Was I just imagining things were that bad? Was I being dramatic? Maybe I did have a normal period, but I was overreacting. My work suffered, relationships suffered, and although I thought I was putting on a good face, someone I barely knew asked me if I was going through something, because I hadn’t been myself for a while.  A year after my nightmare gynecologist appointment, it was time to try again. I just needed someone to tell me my pain was real.

At the suggestion of a good friend, I began seeing a holistic doctor. At my first appointment he listened to me and asked thorough questions for two hours before he even began the physical check up. 

At the end of the appointment he said: “It is my opinion that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, but the only 100% sure diagnosis for endometriosis is laparoscopic surgery, which I do not recommend.” I had no idea how happy hearing that I have a chronic disease with no cure would make me. Well, not that that part made me happy, but some one finally listened and took me seriously! 

He then devised an all natural treatment plan for the symptoms, and we’ve been working together for about 3 months. I have been feeling better, but I accept that I will probably never feel 100%. As I’m writing this now I’ve actually been having and endo flare up for the last 48 hours. But things are looking up and I’m no longer depressed. 

I hope my story helps you to find the courage to seek answers if you know that something isn’t right. You know your body better than anyone, even your doctor, so if someone brushes you off when you know something is wrong, it’s time to move on from that relationship. This includes friends and loved ones, endometriosis is not something you want to experience alone, you should surround yourself with people who love and support you, even if they’ll never understand how much it really sucks. 

*Update: I found a new gynecologist who agrees that I have endometriosis, and although I am going to hold off on doing any of the treatment options she discussed and continue working with my holistic Doctor, it’s just nice to have confirmation that it isn’t all in my head. 

Green Juice Smoothie Cubes

Fresh green juice, frozen and divided so they’re ready to go for smoothies!   

I love juicing and all the benefits that come with it, but with my busy Stay At Work Housewife schedule, I have a difficult time doing it as often as I would like. Between going to the grocery for fresh fruits and vegetables, the actual juicing process, and the clean up, it’s definitely time consuming! I find it easier to just throw some stuff in my NutriBullet and make a smoothie, but I have a hard time drinking the texture of the blended greens. One morning while laying in bed (instead of just getting up to make juice!) I thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make a huge batch of green juice once a week like I meal prep my lunches?”.  I personally own a masticating juicer, which are known for producing juice with a longer shelf life ( 72 hours, compared to centrifugal juicer’s 3-5 hours), but even then, they’ve lost some nutrients since you first made it. The longest I’ve kept juice in the refrigerator is 24 hours (sealed in a mason jar, filled to the top). Then it hit me: Freeze the green juice! Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and University of Chester, carried out tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents; in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and veggies packed higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene. This study supports previous research, which found that freezing produce does not destroy its nutrients. So the same should be true for freezing green juice! 

It takes me about 30 minutes to juice a big batch of kale, broccoli, and romaine lettuce, then I just pour it into icecube trays and freeze it! Once frozen, I divide the green juice cubes into ‘smoothie packets’ with everything but the liquid I’ll eventually add, and store in individual ziplock bags in the freezer. Depending on my mood I’ll throw in some frozen organic bananas, berries, peaches, and/or avocados. Then when I’m ready for a smoothie, I dump the frozen ingredients into my NutriBullet, along with a liquid (coconut milk, filtered water, or green tea), add some flax or chia seeds, honey or tumeric (an anti-inflammatory spice), and in under one minute I have a delicious smoothie! The best part is, it has all of the benefits of a green juice, without having to drag your juicer out every day, or gag on the texture of drinking blended kale! 

30 Days Happier Recap

The Stay At Work Housewife 30 Days Happier Challenge Recap!

  
Well, as of yesterday, I went 30 days expressing gratitude, appreciating the little things, indulging in self-care, and doing thoughtful things for others on a daily basis.  I have to admit there were times where I found this difficult; but even on days I wasn’t feeling very positive I still tried to find something to post. (If you followed along on Instagram @stayatworkhousewife you might remember a day I was in a funk and was only grateful for coffee).  Honestly I wasn’t sure 30 days was going to make a huge difference, but I’m happy to report that it did!  I’m not saying that I walk around like a ray of sunshine, but I find myself looking for the silver lining in every situation, expressing gratitude every chance I get, and appreciating the small things every day.  The best side effect of the 30 Days Happier Challenge was the more positive energy I put out, I got it back in tenfold!  Almost a week into the challenge little amazing things began to happen!

In my short one month of being happier, these awesome things happened:

  • A local newspaper featured a story about me, the blog, and my upcoming cooking show (debuting in August), in their “People” section!
  • I finally found a doctor who would listen to me long enough to give me the diagnosis I’ve been searching years for.  Not only that, he has devised a treatment plan that follows my wishes to pursue natural, holistic treatment options!
  • Green Bean Delivery’s PR team contacted me to offer my readers a discount on their produce delivery service because they read my review and liked it so much!
  • I got recognized from my blog in public by a complete stranger for the first time!
  • The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in all 50 states! (Ok, so my Happiness Challenge didn’t have anything to do with it, but it’s still incredible news!!!!!!)

That is a lot of amazing things to happen right out of the blue, so I can’t help but feel that the happiness I have started putting into the world has something to do with it!  I have decided that I will continue to live by the rules of The Stay At Work Housewife 30 Days Happier Challenge, and we’ll see what other fabulous things the universe has in store for me!

GREEN BEAN DELIVERY REVIEW

Is there anything more Stay At Work Housewife friendly than groceries that magically show up to your front door? Green Bean Delivery is a service I recently signed up for that delivers produce and groceries straight to your door. As I mentioned before, my salon’s busy season is upon me, along with the social engagements that come with warm weather, like weddings, cookouts and graduation parties, not to mention its patio drinking weather!  This is prime healthy eating failing time for me, I barely have time to cook, let alone go to the grocery store, and we all know the most convenient things to grab while out are also the most unhealthy! So when I heard about a service that brings you organic and mostly local produce to your door, I had to sign up for it! It’s similar to a CSA bag, which I have done before, but I like Green Bean Delivery a lot more; here’s why:

  • You choose the size of your bin, they range from small (family of two), medium (family of three), large (family of four) and other customizable options. 
  • You choose how often it’s delivered, once a week, every other, or once a month.  I personally get the medium bin every other week for my husband and I and its perfect!
  • The bins are customizable! On Monday, like a CSA bag, they let you know what is going to be delivered Friday. However, unlike a CSA bag, you have until Tuesday night to log in and take out whatever you don’t want, and replace it with something else! 
  • You can also add groceries! In addition to fruits and vegetables, they also offer local and natural artisan products like eggs, meat and condiments.
  • You don’t have to be home when they deliver.  Just specify where you would like your bin left if you aren’t home! 

It has made my life a lot easier, and it also has gotten me to cook a little more creatively since I have to think about how I’ll use my bin ingredients!  See if your area has Green Bean Delivery here!

Here’s what was in my latest bin:

  

Click here to see how you can get $15 off your first order!

THE STAY AT WORK HOUSEWIFE’S ADVENTURES IN YOGA

As of today I have been doing yoga consistently for four weeks.  I’m still in love with it!  There have been a couple of new things I have discovered since my last yoga post two weeks ago (here!). 

  • I recover from injuries more quickly:

    So, I have this lovely reaction to intense stress, that thankfully has only happened about 4 times in the last 3 years, that I like to call “going Zoolander”, (like the movie, lol) which is where one morning I wake up and can’t turn my head to the left because it’s too painful.  In the past this has put me out of commission for about two weeks as a nail tech, and really as a functioning member of society.  After a pretty intense month, with my husband being away on business, and an unusually stressful series of events at work combined with the usual stress of the beginning of busy season, I woke up last week full Zoolander.  However, this time it only took two nights of snuggling with my heating pad, and I was back to turning my head to the left!  I don’t know if it’s the increased blood flow from yoga, or the fact that my muscles are looser, but I really feel like I healed more rapidly than normal because of yoga!

  • I make even better food choices:

    Before I eat something processed or unhealthy, I think “Is this what I really want to fuel my body with today?”.  Sometimes I think it’s worth it to indulge, but usually I decide I was just bored, drink some water and move on. 

  • More daily positive energy and a better self image:

    Not that I have ever had a negative body image, but I definitely feel really great about myself.  You should hear me talk about my butt.  My little booty has never been anything to write home about, just something to sit on and stick in my jeans; but now when I catch a glance of it I start singing ‘Bootylicious’!  Not only do I feel better physically, but also mentally and emotionally.  I’m really proud of myself for sticking to yoga, I don’t beat myself up when I can’t hold a pose as long as someone else, and my inner monologue is kinder, even off the mat. 

  • My husband benefits from my increased positive self image:

    My mother, mother in law and sister read my blog so I won’t elaborate.  But you get what I’m saying. *wink* 

  • If I am unbalanced in my personal or professional life, I can’t find my balance on the mat.

    Like I mentioned earlier, work has been unusually draining.  Last Wednesday everything kind of collided so I decided to take out my stress in yoga class.  To my frustration, when I would try to do a balance pose, like warrior or even a simple lunge, something I don’t usually struggle with, I was incredibly unstable and wobbly.  At one point I had to completely adjust my position so that I wouldn’t just topple over.  It is unlike me to feel unbalanced or out of control in my personal or professional life, so I have to think my unsteadiness on the mat Wednesday was a physical manifestation of that.

     

    My favorite part is that a month in I still learn something every time I hit the mat; there will always be a move to be excited about perfecting, breathing to focus on more intently, and thoughts to clear more completely!      

THE STAY AT WORK HOUSEWIFE’S ADVENTURES IN YOGA

As of today, I have been consistently doing yoga for two weeks, combining weekly one hour classes, and following along with the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene YouTube series.  Before I make the following statement, let me clarify this: I am Dani Sage, of sound mind and body, no one is writing this for me, and I have not fallen and hit my head. Okay. I LOVE YOGA!!! Look, I’m as shocked as anyone, I’m the first one to admit that I hate physical activity, but I suddenly understand why people quit their 9-5 office jobs to become yoga instructors! One day last week we got five inches of snow, and as I slid through a red light like my car was on ice skates, I fantasized about running away to teach yoga on a beach somewhere!  Pretty tempting when your breaks are ineffective against the weather where you live!  

Even in the short two weeks that I have been doing yoga I’ve noticed some pretty big changes:

  • I’m more conscious of my breathing habits.  I’ve never noticed how many times a day I hold my breath! No wonder I can’t get with the program some days, my brain isn’t getting oxygen!
  • My thoughts are more clear.  I still have a To Do list swirling through my brain, but I’m finding that I can set it aside and be more ‘present’ during every day tasks.  
  • Im becoming more flexible.  I’ve always been incredibly inflexible, you know that day in gym class where you had to sit with your legs straight out and then lean forward to see how far you could push the measuring thing with your fingertips? My gym teacher asked me if I was even trying… Now each time I do downward dog my heels get closer and closer to touching the mat! (I’ll be so excited on the day they finally touch!)
  • I make time for myself.  Aside from the one hour massage I treat myself to every four weeks, I never take time for me!  It’s go go go from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning, to the moment I fall asleep at night, without ever taking time to check in with myself to see how I’m feeling.  It’s nice to take time every day to connect with me! 
  • I can survive an hour without checking my cell phone.  So can the people texting me and so can my Facebook and Instagram followers!  The world does not collapse without me checking my phone!
  • My butt looks great in yoga pants! Seriously.  I don’t usually even have a butt, so I’m pretty excited!  I just have to be careful wearing them around my husband…

So if you hear me going on and on about my love for yoga and are concerned that some kind of exercise enthusiastic alien has invaded my body, don’t worry it’s still me, I’m just drinking the kool aid! Namaste!